A healthy gut begins with your microbiome which is a community of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses that make up your gut microbiota. The microbiota, the products it makes, and the entire environment is your microbiome.
When your microbiome is out of balance, poor gut health can contribute to many health issues such as leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune disease, arthritis, dementia, heart disease, and cancer.
The good news is that you control your microbiome through diet, physical exercise, sleep, minimizing toxins and stress management. Knowing this can start you on the path to improving your gut health.
The quality of your health relies on the balance of organisms and bacteria living within your gut.
How is your gut health? When it’s not balanced with good bacteria, your immune system can become compromised and make it harder for your body to respond to germs as quickly or as efficiently.
Toxins and germs can drain your immune system. This can lead to respiratory infections, sinus infections and lung infections. They can cause problems with your GI tract and with your kidneys. You can also experience skin infections and skin rashes.
If you are experiencing the above symptoms or headaches, muscle aches, food allergies or sensitivities, gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, frequent colds or feeling tired to the point of exhaustion, listen to the signals your body is sending.
Any of these symptoms could be caused by germs or toxins, or both. They point to the need for changes in your diet to cleanse and detoxify your body.
Many chronic diseases are caused by lifestyle choices that are creating toxicity in the body. People tend not to exercise as much as they should, they allow themselves to become overweight, and they eat unhealthy foods that lead to things like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and strokes.
We all need to be diligent about improving our health. Toxins are in our food and environment, and we can make better choices to boost our immune systems. Eating healthy foods that cleanse toxins out of the body and improve our gut health can make a significant difference.
Your immune system is constantly working to eliminate toxins. It fights off viral junk, bacterial infections, fungus and more. When there are too many toxins, it can be easy for your immune system to get overloaded. More than ever, people are being diagnosed with autoimmune conditions, food allergies and chronic disease.
When it comes to autoimmune diseases, there are some that are linked to environmental toxins. These can cause your body to turn on itself and attack certain organs. This is because the immune system registers the organ itself as a foreign invader rather than a toxin.
Eating more nutrient-dense living foods, cleanses your body and increases your healthy gut bacteria.
This takes the pressure off your immune system to help it work the way that it should, while increasing the healthy bacteria in your gut and reducing the risk of chronic disease.
Eating probiotic foods and taking a daily probiotic supplement also helps to increase the good bacteria.
Probiotic foods include live-cultured yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, miso soup, apple cider vinegar and dark chocolate. In addition, fruits and vegetables contain fibers and sugars that can boost the health of your gut bacteria.
Improve your gut health and immune system by adding probiotic foods to your diet and removing sugar which feeds the bad bacteria.
Healthy probiotics (good bacteria) in fermented foods improve gut health, keep your colon clean, improves the function of your colon and provides a place for these friendly bacteria to grow! The good news is that probiotic-rich fermented foods have been around for thousands of years and this is a traditional way to preserve food and beverages. These fermented foods are also referred to as cultured vegetables or cultured dairy products.
When I started making my own yogurt in the 1980’s, I was only familiar with the term “fermented” and I learned in 2002 that they are also referred to as cultured vegetables.Since becoming a Certified Body Ecologist through Donna Gates’ Body Ecology training, I have made thousands of quarts of cultured vegetables, coconut kefir and fermented coconut pudding using the Body Ecology culture starters. Learning how fermented foods improve gut health was a vital part of my healing process and it can be for you too!
Why Should You Consider Fermented Foods?Fermented foods, properly prepared, restore your gut bacteria to a healthy balance to improve your digestion. This in turn allows your body to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat, and improves your overall mental and physical health.Good News About The Process of FermentationThese fermented or cultured foods have been through a process of lacto-fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food. This process creates lactic acid which is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. It preserves the food and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics. Allowing bacteria to ferment in a sealed jar of vegetables over a period of time might not seem like the most appealing way to create a meal or side-dish. However, it is exciting to know how this healthy fermentation plays such an important role in balancing the bacteria in your gut. In future posts, I will review ways to make your own fermented foods. Until then, when talking about eating fermented foods for a healthy gut, remember… the lactic acid-based bacterium is the process to look for.It isn’t necessary for you to learn how to ferment your own food, although you do save a lot of money when you make your own. Fortunately, in today’s market, there are many options available to you in your local grocery store, however, you should…
USE CAUTION: Not all fermented foods are good for restoring balance to your gut bacteria.Unfortunately, many mass-produced fermented foods, may have little beneficial bacteria actual left in them. This is because of the preservatives, added sugars, colorings, or inexpensive vinegars used in place of a real fermentation process.Be on the safe side and look for fermented foods with organic ingredients and no sugar added.Check out this post on Improving Your Gut Health.Until next time, Experiment… try some fermented veggies or some yummy kombucha!
Improving your gut health is one of the most important things you can do for your body; and it’s important to know the most common symptoms that are a good indication that your good bacteria have been compromised, and the bad bacteria has taken over. Do you often have any of the following symptoms?
Gas or bloating
Indigestion or heartburn after meals
Irregular bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation)
Food allergies or sensitivities
Frequent colds, sinus infections, etc.
When your good bacteria are in control you are in a state of symbiosis; and when the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria, you are in a state of dysbiosis which leaves the door open for illness. Your good bacteria must outnumber the bad guys for you to maintain good health.
Your gut (GI track) has the largest collection of microorganisms and your gut microbiome is unique to you. When the microbiome is out of balance and there are more ‘bad’ bacteria than good, you may experience poor gut health symptoms.
Be aware of the symptoms above and take some positive steps to improve your gut health, if needed. The good news is that you can use these tips to start improving your gut health:
The Food You Eat
Remove processed foods and sugar from your diet. These refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods get absorbed quickly into your small intestine without any help from your microbes. Loading up on vegetables and low-sugar fruits and eating a lot of leafy green vegetables will help increase your good bacteria in your gut. Be sure to get a balance of healthy fats and protein with each meal as well.
Probiotics are live bacteria that increase the good bacteria in your gut, especially your digestive system, and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. Include fermented foods in your diet. Fermented foods feed your gut with healthy bacteria. Eat organic fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir, yogurt (not processed or loaded with sugar), and kombucha. Probiotics supplements are also available.
If your gut health is poor, your gut microbiome is out of balance; and you may feel depressed, anxious, or tired. It’s important for your gut health to learn how to relax.
In addition to eating the right foods, begin to practice relaxation techniques with some deep breathing, especially before each meal. Removing stress and distractions, chewing your food completely and truly taking time to enjoy the food you are eating can make a huge difference.
We are all different, and you are unique when it comes to your gut health! If you have symptoms of poor gut health, the above tips should work well for you as long as you keep supporting your microbiome with foods and activities that are healthy for you.
Hormone imbalances may feel like a bitter enemy, and women are often left with no other choice but to just deal with it. Yes, there are treatment options for hormone imbalances like prescribed medications, hormone replacement therapy, and lifestyle changes; however, there are still many women suffering from its negative chain reaction. Some may not have the awareness of connecting all the dots to know WHY their lives are feeling so disrupted.
Some of the causes of hormone imbalance may be medications, chronic stress, poor diet, aging and environmental factors. It is definitely helpful to increase your awareness about the causes, which will help you understand why you feel out of sorts. This awareness is the first step in being able to find the relief that will work best for you
Some things we cannot control, but it is a healthy and empowering decision to control what you can. Eating a clean healthy diet, identifying and lowering yourstress levels and making changes in your home environment for a healthier living space can make a tremendous difference in your health.
If you choose to eat healthy, which may be a sacrifice for some people who are used into eating junk food, you can revitalize your life and will most likely have a more positive experience with hormonal changes.
On the other hand, if you choose to continue poor eating habits, you are more likely to have a variety of health problems, which could very well include hormonal imbalance.
Green and leafy vegetables and fruits, can be beneficial in maintaining your hormones at a favorable level. If you are experiencing hormonal imbalance, one of the reasons could be the lack of fiber in your diet. Enjoying more fruits and veggies increases your fiber intake and can allow the body to eliminate excess hormones.
Environmental Factors – Indoor and outdoor pollution is a major concern and can contribute to hormonal imbalance.Surely you feel safe when you are home, as you should.
However, even at home, the different products that you are using can contain pollutants that can have a negative affect on your hormones. Choosing organic products for personal use and cleaning can make a tremendous difference.
There are numerous toxins in the air we breath, which can have a negative impact in hormone secretion. If you live in a large city, there may be a higher likelihood of suffering from hormonal imbalance.
Petrochemicals that are found in Styrofoam, cleaning agents, and even your car exhaust can lead into exposure to unnatural estrogens. Once they are absorbed by the body, they will thrive in your receptor cells and may inhibit the production of progesterone.
Chronic Stress – If you feel stress because of work, raising a family, managing your business, or even with just the smallest of things, there is a higher tendency of suffering from a hormonal imbalance.
Every time that you are caught in a stressful situation, pregnenolone, which is essential in the production of female hormones, is sidetracked from its normal pathway, and may cause a hormonal imbalance.
If you are already in your menopausal stage, which is characterized by changed in hormone activity, you might also be more stressed.
Eating a healthy diet and eliminating toxins
in the home may lower stress levels on the body.
Medications: There is a reason why consulting a professional is necessary before taking any medications to make sure they will not have a negative effect on your body as they may cause a hormonal imbalance.
A perfect example is birth control pills. Although they are commonly used by some to treat hormonal imbalance, there are situations where it works the other way around as it becomes the cause and not the solution.
Medications may cause an increase in progesterone levels. Hormonal imbalance is also common for people who have suddenly stopped taking birth control pills after prolonged use.
Aging is a fact of life whether we like it or not; however, we have the freedom to make choices to age gracefully in good health.
Living an unhealthy lifestyle could cause you unnecessary suffering from hormonal imbalance which can lead to irritability, mood swings, and other common symptoms.
I know we all have different situations during premenopause and menopause and some much worse than others. However, a healthy diet and lifestyle, along with a huge dose of gratitude can make a positive difference, and may be enough to get you through the change gracefully.
Are you wondering how I can say this? In the early 90’s I was in my first automobile accident. I was a passenger and multiple cars were involved as the car I was riding in was hit three times. My life changed drastically.
I was in terrible pain but the kicker was that I never had another monthly cycle AND NOW — MENOPAUSE! My doctor could not explain it but he felt that some day my cycle may start again. Well, its been many years now, and I’m pretty sure it will never happen!
My doctor at the time did everything in his power to get me on hormone replacement therapy, but I knew that was not my path to take. He was not supportive of what I wanted which was a more natural approach.
I found a doctor who would support me on my journey! She was amazing and very supportive. For years I was suffering with pain from the accident and dealing with menopause.
By the Grace of God, I had a gentle journey through menopause. I ate a healthy diet, eliminated toxins in my home and did everything possible to eliminate negative thoughts and fill myself with gratitude.
I was thankful I would NOT be taking medication the rest of my life!Â
In the 1990’s, I purchased an inexpensive small blender, and then another and another. They did not last long but I was strapped for cash back then. I was delighted when I was finally able to invest in a Vitamix.It’s been doing a great job for 16 years now and still going strong!
When my daughter’s children were growing up, I had a mother-in-law suite in their home. I made smoothies for their family almost every morning. When I remarried and moved, the grandchildren wanted to start making their own “healthy smoothies”.
I could not resist letting them borrow my Vitamins. Actually, I was just so impressed as I watched them! 🙂 It makes my heart happy to see them taking responsibility for their health!
INGREDIENTS:One Green Apple Quartered1/4 to 1/2 of a Green CabbageA Hand Full of Parsley3 Celery Sticks2 Cups of Purified Water (more if needed)
START SLOW: If you are new to blending, remember this healthy drink is loaded with fiber as well as many nutrients.
SIPPING no more than a cup at a time is recommended in the beginning.
REFRIGERATE the remainder and drink throughout the morning or afternoon. The sooner the better!
REMEMBER your body needs to adjust to having lots of healthy fiber.
I like to spice things up a little by adding some of my favorite anti-inflammatory herbs:Tumeric, ginger and cayenne pepper and a sprinkle of black pepper to help the absorption of the tumeric.
When you become more mindful of eating clean and healthy food, it is important to start focusing on how you eat. Most people eat unconsciously and rarely take time to chew their food properly which can lead to numerous health issues.
Learning to take your time to chew slowly is one of the most important things you can do. Chewing more increases saliva which improves digestion. Digestion is the process of breaking down substances the body can use for energy, tissue growth and repair.
You should chew your food until you can no longer feel the texture of the food in your mouth. This will create more saliva to moisten your food for ease of swallowing, improve your immune system and it may also help with your waistline.
Focusing on chewing your food properly can help with the overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut that may lead to cramping, bloating, constipation, gas, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. If you want stronger teeth, less plague buildup and less tooth decay, then learn to chew your food!
Digestion Begins In The Mouth – When you make this small change and start thoroughly chewing your food, you will begin to celebrate the beauty and healing nature of your food.
With better digestion, you will absorb more nutrients which in turn will improve your immune system.
Have you heard the saying, “You Are What You Eat”? Let’s take this a few steps further…
You are what you eat, what you assimilate and what you eliminate.
“Eating Slowly and Mindfully May Shrink Your Waistline The research is clear: slowing down your meals does all sorts of good things for your body, including causing you to eat less. Eating slowly creates actual biochemical changes that make you less inclined to overeat. Even if you aren’t a research buff, I think you will appreciate the underlying message that comes through loud and clear from these studies.” You can read Dr. Mercola’s full posthere.